Name: Dr. Stephen Slaughter
BS: Upon your arrival to the University of Dallas, what were your first impressions?
SS: Am I being recorded? I have to figure out which jokes I can’t tell. I came here as an adjunct, teaching part-time. Wasn’t sure if I wanted to be here, actually. Had heard of the Core, wasn’t sure if I was into the Core, you know, I’m a science nerd. And it was interesting; I had sold a business I had, so I was looking at a place to go. It was unusual here, because I was walking across campus one day, and I was going into Haggar, and a young man stopped and opened the door for me. And I said, “Oh, thank you.” And he said, “Yes sir.” I thought, “Woah, this is kind of weird.” Then it happened again, and it was a young lady who did it this time. And I wondered, “What’s wrong with this place?” I had come back from teaching at UTD [University of Texas at Dallas], and I later just found out that these were nice respectful students. And of course, I was later offered a full-time job here. I think I took it because of the students. I liked the fact that this was an academically oriented university, and I said I had my misgivings of the Core … however … I’ve actually done a flip-flop, and I think the Core works quite well and helps create a student who is a cut above what is coming out of a lot of universities.
BS: Have you seen any changes over your years at UD?
SS: Have I? You know I’m old, but I came here in ’07 or something. When I came here, the university was stagnant. It was like one of those dirty stagnant ponds. You ever see any of those ponds with all the little bugs on it, and the water has whitish scum on it? It really was. It lacked a certain amount of dynamic growth. There was no building going on — that aspect I did not like. What I’ve seen change is now we have, obviously, the buildings being built, [and] the campus as a whole is being repaired. They have gates! When I got here, I didn’t even know where UD was. There weren’t any gates. “What is this place?” I thought. “Is there even a school here?” Now they’ve got these great gates, and the city did some stuff too around here. I’ve seen a lot of new initiatives and programs, growth in enrollment, and I think all of those things are good. I think you want a dynamic university that is a mover and a shaker. And I’ve seen morale increase overall.
BS: Do you have any advice for students, particularly freshmen?
SS: They should give Dr. Slaughter $100 each. How many incoming freshmen are there? 381? I don’t know if this is cliché, but we often tell them to hit the ground running, because it ain’t high school, as they say. So what I like to see new students do is come in, study their hearts out for the first round of exams in order to see how their study skills are and what’s expected of them, so they can balance things up. This university is naturally balanced by the Core. You’re taking English, philosophy, theology and science … So, I think life is all about balance. Is that too cliché?